Monday, October 21, 2013

One Last Thing

Sam Harris, perhaps the originator of the new atheism as a "thing" has attempted to abduct Malala and force her to be part of his hate campaign against her own religion.

In an era of narcissistic self-obsession, there’s something to be said for the value of self-awareness. This week, atheist philosopher Sam Harris leapt forward to claim Malala Yousafzai as another trophy in his one-man jihad against Muslims and the weak-kneed “Muslim-apologists” he perceives on the left.

That Harris has been denounced as a crude, pseudo-intellectual bigot for his various tirades about the monolithic evil of Muslims didn’t do much to deter him; but what was most interesting about his latest missive was its complete disregard for Malala’s actual words and opinions. Either he didn’t listen to her words at all before plastering her face on his website or he was too contemptuous of her to think it necessary.

According to Harris:

"Given the requisite beliefs…. an entire culture will support such evil. Malala is the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in a thousand years. She is an extraordinarily brave and eloquent girl who is doing what millions of Muslim men and women are too terrified to do—stand up to the misogyny of traditional Islam"

It’s worth pausing here to listen to whether Malala thinks that she is standing up to her own evil culture and the misogyny of “traditional Islam”:

“The Taliban think we are not Muslims, but we are. We believe in God more than they do, and we trust him to protect us…..I’m still following my own culture, Pashtun culture….Islam says that it is not only each child’s right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility.”

Whatever one thinks of this, given that these are Malala’s beliefs, anyone with a modicum of decency or respect for her would not go ahead and use her suffering as a tool to attack the very things she is fighting to defend. Yet Harris takes up this opportunity with great vigor. For him it doesn’t matter whether Malala believed she was defending traditional Islam, because anyone who tries to differentiate Islam from the acts of extremists are part of the “tsunami of stupidity and violence breaking simultaneously on a hundred shores … the determination that ‘moderate’ Islam not be blamed for the acts of extremists.’”

Sam Harris has no shame.  That's the kind of thing happens when you don't really believe that lying and misrepresenting and bearing false witness really matters.

The article also points out:

Besides their own unique brands of extremist myopia (one formed in Ivy League universities, another in the illiterate villages of a war-torn country) what Harris and the Taliban also have in common are that neither considers Malala to be a genuine Muslim. Without even the pretense of substantiating his argument, Harris claims that criminals such as al-Qaida and Al Shabab – universally denounced among religious authorities in the Muslim world – have “have as good a claim as any to being impeccable Muslims.”

It’s unlikely that anyone who possessed even the tiniest legitimate regard for Malala’s struggle would co-opt her views so blatantly to pursue their own seething bigotries against her culture and beliefs. Endorsing Malala’s Nobel-worthiness and using her photograph without paying even minimal attention to her own views is emblematic of Harris’ naked condescension toward the “millions of Muslim women, freethinkers, homosexuals, and apostates” whom he constantly promotes himself as the savior of.

See you next month, I hope.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Been Under The Weather

It's a close thing, between getting old and getting sick.  I used to tease my nephews and nieces that being middle aged was a lot like having a low grade virus all the time.   This weekend has been a lot more like high grade virus.  Now the doctor tells me that I've got to go to the hospital.  He talked about an operation.  I think it's just the medical system trying to get their money before Obamacare goes into effect.

I will post again as soon as possible.  Till then, keep the faith.  

Found Topical Poem

When the video clip was clicked on, of Jon Stewart's interview with Malala Yousafzai, in which she said:

I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do, Malala?' Then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.' But then I said, 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that harshly. You must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said, 'I tell him how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well. Now do what you want.'

When that video was clicked on, the interview with Malala in which she said that was delayed so an ad for Battlefield 4 could run.